Comments

  1. Tessie Tura says

    Opera singer Eleanor Steber gave a recital there as well. It was actually recorded on RCA Red Seal. I have a copy of the LP. It was a formal affair, black-towel concert. I kid you not. The name of the album was “Live at the Continental Baths” and there was a photo on the back cover of men, in black towels, listening to her.

  2. jason says

    While I think that this might be an interesting documentary, where’s the glory in it? No wonder STD’s and AIDS spread through the New York scene….

  3. Ark says

    @JASON You truly are despicable. Did you not read that the place closed in 1974 when we didn’t know about HIV/AIDS? Nobody had any clue what was to come and your comment was profoundly insensitive, offensive and outright inhumane to a generation of men who perished without even knowing the hellish nightmare that was about to be unleashed upon them. Your amazing lack of compassion is jawdroppingly disgusting. I pity you.

  4. Icebloo says

    I think bathhouses and sex clubs are very damaging to our community. Straight people think we are all about wild, risky sex with strangers. It’s another reason they think we are a threat to the status quo.

    Bathhouses are a major reason HIV/AIDS & other STD’s are spread so quickly within the gay community. It’s still happening today.

    We should close these bathhouses down – we should not be trying to promote and glamorize them in movies.

    I don’t want the world to think all gay men behave like out of control, wild animals with no morals.

    I have a real issue with my local gay paper here – they complain about the rise in HIV/AIDS but then take advertising revenue from the local bathhouses.

    It’s time gay people took responsibility for their own behavior.
    WE, not politicians, are the reason STD’s are still way, way, way too common in our community.

  5. Gal_Friday says

    That building is at the SW corner of Broadway and W. 74th Street. It was used as the location for the film “Single White Female.” It is condos now, with some holdover renters. It’s a fabulous building called The Ansonia. Flo Zigfield used to live there, along with a lot of other musicians…because the walls were very thick and you could practice during the day and not disturb anyone.

  6. Diogenes says

    @ICEBLOO

    So you’re reasoning is that if we close these establishments down, then the straights will look favorably upon us? Honey, their opinion isn’t going to change if we don’t ever have sex again. We’re not puritans and we should stop thinking that it’s shameful to engage in sex in adult atmospheres. That’s what they’re for. What’s wrong with being human?

    HIV and other STDs are spread due to people being irresponsible. You think closing down these places is going to stop that? No. People get HIV and STDs from hooking up in their own homes all the time. These buildings are not the problem.

    Also, why pretend that gay people are the only ones who engage in hedonistic behaviors? Care to explain strip clubs? Peep shows? XXX theaters?

    We’re human. We have sex. It’s time to stop fooling ourselves.

  7. coolbear says

    This is wonderful. I’ve recently been going through a lot of correspondence from the 70s, and realizing how significant the preservation is.
    For people who have a problem with it: No society has ever come up with a good argument for the suppression of history.

  8. anthony says

    I believe it would be a great documentary.
    Mind you for those under 60 years of age…that particular time period certainly is generational. —and you had to “be there” to experience “a time and era”

    The ONLY major health issues was the normal STD’s ( so was the understanding )

    There were of course unfortunate horror stories “after it closing”. My friend was
    hacked to death –and was the dear friend of part of it’s management.— a few years after the movie ” looking for Mr. Goodbar”.

    I heard of only hysterical funny stories about the place. It was a place for discovery….free expressions…acceptance.

    I prefer to “hear/ remember- the stomach aching laughter stories”.

    The afterwards and horrors of HIV- AIDS and murder—-I dread those memories.

    I prefer the laughter and wonderful people.

    It was a “place in time”–imagine the most freeing feeling you ever had and multiply it by infinity.

  9. alex says

    There are plenty of comparable heterosexual institutions that would be considered immoral by the average American…swingers clubs and websites like Ashley Madison. The only difference is those things are often ignored because heterosexual people are usually in control of the media and political narrative.

    Another example of this phenomenon is the rhetoric of divorce as it relates to the “sanctity” of marriage. Marriage is sacred and must be protected from us; but, it’s not sacred enough to force heterosexuals to live up to those sacred vows.

  10. millerbeach says

    I think it’s great..an aspect of our history that hasn’t really been covered. It’s refreshing to see coverage of gay life before the AIDS crisis.

  11. Tim says

    Gee, it’s a “legendary” place where gay men learned to have loveless sex. And where they managed to create a pandemic of venereal disease. Not HIV, but Hep A, Hep B, Hep C, amoebas, syphilis, etc. Let’s all celebrate!

    How pathetic. The early 1970s was a unique opporunity to create a positive culture based on love and respect. Instead, that generation created a culture based on promiscuous anonymous commercialized sex, with catastrophic results. We are only just now starting to move out from under the legacy of this error.

  12. NVTodd says

    I just love how people are such revisionists !

    As if multiple STD’s EXCLUDING HIV ENTIRELY all by themselves, are incapable of killing you !

    Repeated exposure, repeated treatment, and somehow people think this was ever OK ? It was NEVER OK, the ONLY reason people thought it WAS, was because SO MANY Gay “activists” of the era were deluded and claimed that STD’s were some sort of badge of honor.

    If you refused to take part in this suicidal group delusion, you were, and to some extent, and to some extent even today still are considered to be some sort of prude, “self-hating homosexual”, etcetera.

    It was an unsustainable lifestyle. Learn your history, learn about what urban gays were doing, pre HIV era. It wasn’t pretty, it was never healthy, it was disrespectful to themselves and one another.

    Blaming the lack of love and acceptance from mommy and daddy and the world will only get you just so far.

    This BS revisionism about how a small group of people recklessly spreading STD’s to one another in a small pool of people was somehow no big deal is an overt and outright lie. It’s a justification for living your life like a child that takes no personal responsibility for your own health. And “the community” was, and is to some extent even now, built upon this lie.

    How could anyone born after the 80’s even have HIV now ? At some point you have to stop making childish excuses. And that’s where we are now. Either you accept the excuses and march like lemmings to the HIV specialists, or you render the need FOR them entirely obsolete.

    I’m sorry to say it, but the choice is YOURS to make – don;t blame me for having made the right choice, and for refusing to pretend that some people are not making the wrong ones, and suffering the consequences of those choices.

    Either you want it, or you don’t.

    Nobody’s forcing you to expose yourselves to STD’s, of which HIV is merely one.

    There was a time we chose to express ourselves exclusively via our denial and our sexuality.

    People, that time is OVER.

  13. David says

    now I hope someone will do a similar commemorative video of the Gaiety “Burlesk”, another Times Square icon until the early 2000’s…Not to be forgotten!

  14. NVTodd says

    It isn’t sanctimonious to empower people by refusing to lie to them.

    It isn’t sanctimonious to insist that we, as a community, EVOLVE.

    The choice to take risks is entirely yours to make. Do not pass off your playing the lottery, and losing, as something worthy of emulation.

    It’s killed, and will kill again.

  15. Derrick from Philly says

    In the 1970s who was “GAY”? Was it you sanctimonious b.tches who were in the closet, or weren’t even born yet? WHO WAS OUT?

    I’m glad I found these Gay blogs 6 years ago. They have taught me that there are a lot of Gay people who I do not have to like or feel a sense of unity with. Gay folks include small-minded b.tches just like everybody else.

  16. kravitz says

    Baths are tolerated because they keep pickup/trick crimes down. The tradeoff is for the local governments or activists to be able to educate people about sexual health. Sex addicts will find it wherever they are. So the idea that commercial places to have sex exist merely to encourage the having of sex is wrong.

  17. The Milkman says

    Wow, so much vitriol about the idea of gay men having promiscuous sex. You’d think this wasn’t a gay blog but rather a quilting bee in the fellowship hall at Hillcrest Baptist Church in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

    Kids, people have sex. Sometimes it’s about love. Sometimes it’s not. That’s true of straight people, and it’s true of gay people. It has ever been thus, and it will not ever change. Some folks prefer loving sex over recreational sex, and vice versa… but that’s really just an individual preference.

    It’s little busybodies like you guys who make me think that if we lived in a bizarro world in which gay/lesbian was the norm, things wouldn’t really be all that different.

  18. NVTodd says

    One can be “promiscuous” (your judgmental and sex negative choice of words, not mine) without being an irresponsible retard that collects STD’s as a badge of honor.

    And who said don’t have recreational sex ?

    It’s funny how the people who always manage to appoint themselves the grand defenders of sexual freedom seem to consistently fail when it comes to making any kind of real distinctions that would actually save some lives.

    Try reading as opposed to reacting like you feel so guilty for a change.

  19. NyerinMpmls says

    I’ve been to bathhouses. I’m HIV+. Apparently that makes me an “irresponsible retard that collects STDs as a badge of honor.” Charming.

    So much for the whole “take responsiblity for your actions and evolve” diatribe, eh?

    Without the Continental Baths, without a bunch of messy drag queens getting arrested at Stonewall, without a bunch of screaming activist homos getting arrested for protesting inaction on the AIDS front, would we have the luxury of having this conversation today? Exactly.

  20. NVTodd says

    NYERINMPMLS: Yes, because tens of thousands of dead homos can’t be wrong about anything.

    Give me a break. If the “collecting STD’s as a bade of honor” quote from 70’s gay activists is such an affront to your sensibilities, maybe you should take it up with them.

    Oh, wait, they’re all dead…

  21. David Jarrett says

    I love modern gay history and hope the film is produced. When I was quite young, I visited the Continental Baths on weekends, from time to time. I remember that I felt wonderfully liberated from the restraints of the hetero world. In the pre-internet days, about the only way one could meet a sex companion was to go to a gay bar/club. The CB opened up a wonderful new vista for gay guys.

  22. JohnAGJ says

    It might be interesting from an historical POV, but I see nothing to celebrate or fondly reminisce about. It was a place for folks to screw as many others as they could without any thought of responsibility or consequences. Big whoop. Hardly something to be proud of.

  23. says

    NVTodd, stop being angry at other gay men for the fact that you’re so ugly you couldn’t get f***ed if you fell @ss-first onto a cock factory.

    I get it. You’re one of the miserable trolls who lives vicariously though his anonymous internet handle.

    But just because you’ve never had the opportunity to lose your virginity to anyone other than the neighbourhood goat doesn’t mean that you’ve taken some moral “high-road.”

  24. NyerinMpmls says

    @NVTODD. Again, so much for the whole “take responsiblity for your actions and evolve” diatribe, eh?

    Have a great day, and keep spreading the love.

  25. Ted says

    I turned 18 in 1961. I knew I was gay. I was fortunate enough to live the gay life in pre-Stonewall New York. I remember the bars being raided, the bath houses (Everard, St. James) hook-ups in Times Square, etc. I have wonderful, fantastic memories of those days and wouldn’t change them for the world. Gay history is very important to us all, especially the younger gay community, to learn how we lived, the good and bad times we went through. Still happy, and gay at the young age of “69”.

  26. NVTodd says

    I understand why people feel compelled to have their little hissy fits whenever a gay man dares to point out that STD’s were never the benign fact of life revisionists now, who claim to be aware of our history, pretend they were and are.

    If you want to interpret resistance to this kind of dishonesty and malinformation as hostile or coming from anywhere other than a place of love for the community, that’s on you.

    But you ARE projecting it.

  27. says

    If you’d like to put a face to your comments and prove that you’re not just a miserable cowardly troll with capers for testes who projects misery onto everyone having a real authentic life, you can feel free to do do. but ya won’t. cuz ya CAN’T, blanche :)

  28. NyerinMpmls says

    Sorry to beat the dead horse here, but still not quite grasping how calling a wide swath of humanity “irresponsible retard(s) that collect(s) STDs as a badge of honor” is coming from “a place of love for the community.”

    Sorry, maybe I’m dense. It must be my HIV meds.

  29. NVTodd says

    NYER: It must be, because you could try to read the comments in sequence, and in context, if you really wanted to.

    KIWI: I don’t owe you my privacy. I don’t owe you any apologies for telling you that you have HIV because YOU made bad choices. And I certainly don’t owe anybody an apology for refusing to march the current generation into an early over-medicated grave.

    People, learn our history. There’s no excuse for not knowing that people in the 70’s identified as “gay”, there’s no excuse for perpetrating the lie that STD’s were/are no big deal.

    You’ve only got one life, don’t let people who are obsessed with the idea of having sex with animals and with being media whores tell you how to live it.

  30. The Milkman says

    STDs just like other illnesses have always been part of the human condition. I am not being a revisionist in pointing out that the presence of illness in our collective lives is something that we share with straight people. And while systematic social oppression can have an impact on behavior trends in a community like ours, there will always be those outliers on either side of the bell curve whose experiences differ from those clustered in the middle. Cluck-clucking about such things will have no impact on other people’s behavior at all. Those of you who think you want to reach people and help them live differently should take a lesson from those who have worked in this field for years… finger pointing and judgemental BS will only close minds.

  31. The Milkman says

    “don’t let people who are obsessed with the idea of having sex with animals and with being media whores tell you how to live it.”

    And now we see his true colors.

    This is clearly some homophobe troll. Scare quotes around the word gay? Suggesting that gay men are pathologically sex-obsessed and into sex with animals? Sounds like something Tony Perkins or Maggie Gallagher would say.

    Nothing NVTodd says is at all valid at this point. Please ignore the troll.

  32. says

    HAHAHAHAA!

    Yeah, let the anonymous trolls with capers for testes tell you how to live, instead. Because it’s worked wonders for them.

    😀

    I always love how the angry insecure trolls come on to talk about “privacy”…on a blog where every contributor has their name attached to their articles. yeah.

    #S**TClosetedCowardsSay

  33. JohnAGJ says

    The Milkman: Why? Because he is saying something that you disagree with or perhaps offends your own set of values? It matters not if he is a social con troll or not, he isn’t the only gay person who does not share your views about rutting with pratically everything that moves. I find nothing to celebrate or be proud of in that, you obviously feel different. Good for you. Enjoy life as you please, as will I, but don’t expect everyone to cheer you on for it.

  34. jhr459 says

    Yeah, but let’s not just stop with the US. I think we need to close down all of the bathhouses in Africa as well – I mean, it stands to reason.

  35. says

    I think the documentary would be amazing. As a gay man I have heard about this place over the years, an old friend of mine told me about it and the story of Bette Midler, Patti LaBelle, etc. He was telling me on the way to my first bathhouse experience in Hollywood in the late 1980’s. I am 47 now. I know alot of unsafe behavior goes on in these places because I witnessed it and I am no saint. There was also alot of drugs mainly crystal meth which became a huge problem for me but with recovery do not indulge AND I ENCOURAGE OUR NEW GAY GENERATION TO STOP USING IT. I do not go to bathhouses anymore, first of all I have “grown up”, I also contracted hiv BUT NOT @ the baths. See, I am on the fence about closing them down, yes I know that there are still people going, doing drugs, and there is no cabaret baths like the Continental was they are just sex clubs, and I know it is someones personal option to go, it is just with my experience especially with our younger gay men as long as they are safe I don’t have a problem but I know from experience that all it takes is bumping into someone with a substance, get offered or even go in with your own, and it clouds your judgement. I cannot change my past, I am not going to lie, the first year of going to this place, which is still around, 3 floors of pulsing music, private rooms, hot videos streaming and more and just getting out of a bad relationship I had at the time I thought “fun times” however as time went by I found them to be a very lonely place, with alot of very lonely, drug using, pleasure seekers. It is a very tough call and I am glad I don’t have to make the decision. BUT MAKE THE MOVIE because this place is HISTORY, and it is a beautiful building. Wish I could have seen Bette there but I was too young and on another coast of the u.s.

  36. NYerinMpls says

    And I heard “gay” perverts are meeting each other online too and spreading their pestilence that way. Somebody better shut down the internet.

  37. Derrick from Philly says

    Hey, Dennis:

    …appreciate your posting. I don’t think that many of us have a strong opinion about the continued existence of bath houses, all night movie theaters, peep shows, etc. What some of us do have any issue with is the condemnation that some folks seeem to have with that part of Gay history.

    “OUT” Gay people often used those venues for social and sexual contacts. Those places HAD their place, and for some they still do.

    If you go to a bathhouse you must protect yourself just as you would with someone you’ve been dating for 3 months and now you decide “it’s time to get down to the real nitty gritty”.

    You always protect yourself from STDs whether you’re in a bathhouse or the confessional

  38. MikeybigD says

    Thanks to Dennis for his great post. And for his point that the film should be made because it is history. History should not be ignored because you disagree with the way things were. Some of the people in this film will look back fondly on this time, some will not. Just as the above comments battle has shown. Still, I love history and will look forward to this film.

  39. says

    Look at me, look at me, I’m pretending to be someone and something I’m not.

    It’s because I’m just another fag with AIDS on disability with no job, no life, and nothing to do all day but lie and troll.

    I’m so sorry, please kill me after I suck you off in the alley for the 100th time…

  40. andrew says

    Legendary? It was a place where gay guys went to get laid. I went there a couple of times in 1973/1974. ( Okay, I’m old) It was at the end of its ten year run and there was nothing special about it.

  41. Sam Molloy says

    It wasn’t New Yawk, but right before AIDS, I read a newspaper article written for the general public that tried to justify the recently publicized local bath house. There was no entertainment there, just sex. The spin on the article was that it was where career minded guys could have noncommittal sex on the way home from work without the drama and time lost maintaining a relationship. Obviously that path turned out to be disastrous.

  42. Jerry6 says

    I was “Brought Out” at the Continental Baths in 1969. I had gone there after work one night thinking it was an exercise club with a swimming pool. Little did I know; But have never regretted the error.

  43. Jerry6 says

    After posting the above, I read most of the prior postings. I guess I was lucky, but having served in the Navy at the end of WW2, I had learned some knowledge of the risks of unprotected sex. Later, when AIDS was in it’s early stages and the cause was not yet known, I was working in Florida and met one of the key investigators trying to discover the cause of AIDS. He was working in Haiti (The source from which AIDS spread to Miami, New York, and San Francisco.) The cause of AIDS was difficult to find because of the very small size of the virus and there were only a few microscopes that were capable of seeing it. One that could was in Paris, and one was in Miami. Paris found it first, and Miami confirmed it. THEN, the question was, “Where did it come from?” Answer: Young Catholic middle class Jesuit Missionaries working in Southern Africa brought it back to France; they then gave it other male Frenchmen; who then went on vacation to the middle class Club Med in Haiti; who gave it to the help; who gave it to American vacationers from Miami and New York.

  44. says

    @ LITTLEKIWI i worked in a professional industry and went all the way to the top of the industry for 28 years, was very successful, i am not pretending to be anything, and sure i cannot work right now but have a job i just don’t get paid money for it and fyi i have never been to any alley anywhere and currently am very healthy, happy when you don’t know someone it is ignorant to post something like you did it makes you look IGNORANT

  45. Joe De Hoyos says

    Yeah its shocking how many fearful, sheltered and small minded homos there are out there. Our history is our history. You don’t have to like it. But pretending the morals of those days were the same as they are today is just delusional. Thanks to the sexual revolution the current generation of gay people can see multiple examples of themselves all over television: Will & Grace, Project Runway, Modern Family, Ellen, etc. Don’t kid yourselves by hiding behind a morality that you probably don’t follow to a tee anyway.

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